According to Freud, defense mechanisms are a group of reactions-responses to external stimuli that irritate the brain. The emergence of these mechanisms is usually spontaneous, allowing a person to cope with stress and potential threats from the external environment. The defense mechanism aims to eliminate the factor responsible for high anxiety and nervousness and to strengthen rationality in solving the problem.
Displacement is withdrawing from consciousness and keeping it out of mental content to eliminate triggers. It usually arises from childhood traumas and memories, often as forgetting and subsequent neurosis.
Displacement serves to remove from memory factors that could lead to a violation of social norms and rules. For example, a child who has been sexually abused may report this only after several years and work with a psychologist because they have forgotten to preserve the psyche.
Projection is the process of transferring one’s conscious motives onto some subject to shield oneself from the potential danger of these motives. A person can project his character and behavior to others, protecting the psyche from wrongdoing.
Projection eliminates the feeling of guilt and responsibility for the acts committed. For example, some parents induce their children to engage in some activity. Children do not want to do it, but parents insist because they did not fulfill themselves.
Substitution is the channeling of attraction energy to a safer object. It is connected with the transference of an unacceptable action to a socially approved one, reducing the person’s general anxiety.
One example is the behavior of employees in the workplace. Senior managers may be reprimanded and then lash out at their subordinates. It is worth noting that this reaction is inherent to all ages; it just can manifest itself in different ways.
The reactive formation is a more complex defense mechanism involving two stages. As a result of reactive formation, behavior is reversed, with the opposite sign. At the same time, the object of desire, the thing of attitude, is preserved.
The person convinces that whatever they are feeling belongs only to one pole of the complex emotional response. This psychological defense mechanism is often used if, based on previous experience, the person has learned that manifesting feelings like anger is dangerous and punishable.
Sublimation is gradually moving from traumatic perceptions to positive behavior and achieving socially acceptable goals. This process is the most effective because it allows the person to move away from negative energy and switch to prosperous impulses and perceptions.
The unconsciousness of the process allows for the removal of anxiety and a return to social norms. For example, students do not tolerate a failed exam well and resort to drinking alcohol for satisfaction and a sense of victory.